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Garden Radio Round Up September 3 - 4

Spring is here and right on queue the cloud cover is opening and on comes the sun.

And lots of gardens are open now too. Illawarra Grevillea Park in the south, Nooroo in the west, and in Queensland the Laidley Spring Festival is happening from September 8 to 10. Lots to see this Spring and plenty to do in the garden.


Its time to admire the azaleas. Photo - LiuSol / Shutterstock


It’s time to

Get your tickets for Better Homes & Gardens Live

It's time once again to step into the ultimate day of inspiration and shopping, Better homes and gardens live. Don't miss out. Sydney 16-18 September at Sydney Olympic Park, and Melbourne 14-16 October at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Best of all, get a 30% discount as a Garden Clinic member!

To purchase tickets or for more info visit


Look out for the new $5 note

Australia's new $5 banknote came out last Thursday. The new $5 banknote features a depiction of wattle flowers from Acacia verticillata subsp. Ovoidea, ‘Prickly Moses’, and one of my favourite native birds, the Eastern Spinebill.

The new $5 banknote also includes a ‘tactile’ feature to help the vision-impaired distinguish between different banknote values; a huge step forward. The tactile feature on the $5 banknote is one raised bump on each of the long edges of the banknote next to the top-to-bottom window.


Look out for Acacia 'Prickly Moses' on a $5 note soon


Put it in the diary, Knox Grammar Spring Festival

Knox Grammar in Wahroonga will be hosting their Spring Festival on Friday September 9 from 9am. I'll be there and so will chef, Philip Davenport,

Chocolates Patissier, Paul Adam, plus market stalls with plants and food, and music from the Knox School Band.

Head to the Gillespie Field, Bangalla Street, Warrawee on Friday September 9 and I'll see you there!

Admire spring blossoms

Crabapples, pretty cherries and gorgeous flowering plums. Seek out the best performing spring blossom trees in your climate.


Feed ‘em up

Apply organically based fertiliser to all plants, especially roses, citrus, fruit trees and vines. Use a specialised fertilizer, such as Bush Tucker, for native plants.

Boost spring flowering bulbs with regular liquid feeds during and after flowering as they store vital nutrients for next year’s show.


South of the border, it’s planting time.

Summer annuals, such as petunias, cosmos, salvias and zinnias can go in now and will flower their heads off until autumn.

Repot indoor plants that have been in the same container for two years. Refresh potting mix and add a spoonful of slow release fertiliser.


Protect and prevent

Guard newly planted seedlings from snails and slugs with pet-friendly snail baits or traps.

Control sap-sucking aphids on new rose buds with a blast from the hose, or spray with EcoOil.

Begin preventative sprays to control citrus leaf miner, which damages new foliage. Spray with Eco-Oil or Pest Oil every one or two weeks.


Weed, weed, weed….

Stay on top of weeds in gardens and lawns by pulling them out by hand before they become rampant.


Bush Garden

Grevillea ‘Lana Marie’

A hybrid created in Queensland from two Western Australia grevilleas, G. nana ssp. abbreviate X G. Sid Cadwell. It is an attractive, heavy blooming variety with bright pink luminous semi-pendulous flowers throughout the year. G. ‘Lana Marie’, grows to 1.5m tall but at least 2m wide. It is frost tolerant to -3C and is often grafted onto Silky Oak rootstock to extend its growing into heavier soils and moist areas.


Grevillea 'Lana Marie'. Photo - Graham Ross


Not easy to find but worth looking for, an excellent grower and performer in the garden.



Psyllid outbreak at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mt Annan.

When I visited the RBG's Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan on Thursday I met the Royal Botanic Gardens Executive Director, Kim Ellis and MT Annan's Director, John Siemon who were concerned at the arrival of a devastating insect attack on their Grey Box eucalypts. The insect, Grey Box Psyllid, defoliates the trees stressing them in summer to produce a second season of foliage. If this too is attacked and is combined with a drought, the trees, as is happening across the Cumberland Plain, may die.

For more information on this terrible problem affecting these native Sydney basin trees go to

Psyllid damage on Cumberland Plains Grey Box at a road widening project in Western Sydney. Photo - David Thompson / UWS / HIE


Garden News

Habitat loss threatening Powerful Owl population in Beecroft Chelteham area

Our friend, Michael has sent new images of the owlets living in the Byles creek area of Cheltenham. These little guys face an uncertain future thanks to the current rate of development in the area and it's effect on their habitat.


Day road owlets, Georgie and Porgie. Photo - Michael Bianchino


Whale Rock owlet, Pie. Photo - Michael Bianchino


Pie's good mate, Puddin'. Photo - Michael Bianchino


The survival of this incredible species of bird in the Sydney basin is entirely dependent on the existence of tall eucalyptus trees like the ones found in Byles creek valley, and all over Beecroft, Cheltenham and all the way up to Pennant Hills. Lose the trees and we lose the powerful owl - it's that simple.

Show you care about the future of the Powerful Owl in Sydney. Log on to the Save Beecroft Cheltenham Alliance facebook page and lend your support to the cause.


Laidley Spring Festival starts Friday

Laidley Garden Club president joined me on the show to talk about the Laidley Spring Festival, September 8, 9 and 10 at the Laidley Cultural Centre, out in the beautiful Lockyer valley.

There is plenty to see and do over three days at the Laidley Spring Festival like garden & flower shows, quilt and craft expo and the Grand Champion garden competition. Plus Shaun the Sheep will be there for the kids!


For more information go to the Lockyer Valley Regional Council event page,



State Library celebrates the RGB bicentenary

Like many passions, gardening can be an absorbing, satisfying and even addictive pursuit capable of stimulating all of our senses! No wonder so many Australians spend endless hours on their knees creating their dream garden.

To celebrate the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney 200th birthday, the State Library will be staging two exhibitions that showcase the rich story of gardens and garden‐making in Australia ‐ Planting Dreams: Shaping Australian Gardens and Grand Garden Designs will open to the public on 3 September 2016.


The stunning cover of Richard Aiken's new book, Planting Dreams - Shaping Australian Gardens


My guest on air this weekend, garden historian and Shaping Australian Gardens curator, Richard Aitken whose new book shares its title with the exhibition, and will be launched as part of the exhibition, trawled through the State Library’s extensive collections and selected 150 rare, beautiful and quirky objects – spanning five centuries – to present the ideas and influences that have shaped the way we make, use, imagine and enjoy our gardens.


Cover of the Andersons Garden Book and Catalogue, 1956. Part of the 'Planting Dreams' exhibition at the State Library of NSW

Some gardens can make us green with envy! Grand Garden Designs features over 70 extraordinary images of the most magnificent contemporary gardens in NSW, captured by Australia’s leading garden photographers.

Planting Dreams: Shaping Australian Gardens and Grand Garden Designs are free exhibitions at the State Library of NSW from 3 September 2016 to 15 January 2017. Richard Aitken’s stunning new book Planting Dreams: Shaping Australian Gardens (NewSouth Publishing) is available from 1 September 2016.


Come away with us

England and the Chelsea Flower Show

Always wanted to go to the Chelsea Flower Show? Why not join us in 2017? We’ll beat the crowds and see the show on Members day.

Come with us to an England up to its knees in spring blossom, carpets of tulips and meadows of wildflowers. Our England tour is a happy mix of horticulture and history: the Chelsea Flower Show on members’ day, Highgrove, Sissinghurst, and returning for 2017, the lost garden of Heligan, one of my personal favourites.


Beat the crowds and come with us to the 2016 Chelsea Flower Show on Members' day.


Join the team at our 2017 Programme Launch

Come along, meet our tour leaders and see some of our new destination itineraries, including Mexico & Cuba. 11am, 12th September 2016 at Lion Gate Lodge, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.

To book your place at the 2017 Programme Launch, or to enquire about any of our tours contact Royce or Roslyn on 1300 233 200, email us at, or visit